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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Warning for high temperatures: “Heat is dangerous for everyone”

From Thursday to Monday, the highest temperature of the day is expected to reach at least 26 degrees in eastern Götaland, large parts of Svealand and southern Gävleborg County, among others. SMHI has therefore issued a yellow warning which means that the high temperatures may pose certain risks to the public and that individuals or groups who are particularly sensitive may be seriously affected.

– In general, we in Sweden have a bad idea of ​​how dangerous the heat can be. It can be dangerous for everyone, not just for risk groups, says Elin Andersson, researcher in environmental health at the Swedish Public Health Agency.

Elderly, chronically ill and people with disabilities are of course extra vulnerable. But even healthy, younger people can get sick from the heat, as can pregnant women, young children and elite exercisers.

– This also applies to people who take certain medications, they can become more sensitive to heat, says Elin Andersson.

The medicines that can affect the body’s fluid and heat regulation are antidepressant drugs, diuretics, beta blockers and neuroleptics, ie common medicines taken by hundreds of thousands of Swedes.

– If you take this type of medicine, it is good to contact your doctor when there is a heat wave. Sometimes you may need to change the dose temporarily, says Elin Andersson.

When it comes to young children for five years they have not had time to develop their ability to sweat properly.

– They need help to stay cool and replenish fluids continuously. Another tip is to serve extra liquid-rich food, such as vegetables and fruit, says Elin Andersson.

Research has shown that heat can also increase the risk of pregnant women giving birth prematurely.

– It can involve risks for both mother and child.

The most dangerous consequence of prolonged heat is that one can become dehydrated. Dehydration often affects the elderly and people who exert themselves physically. But it can also be the other way around: That you drink so much water that the salt balance in the body is disturbed. The condition, hypernatremia, increases during the summer and is common among elite exercisers and people who participate in exercise races. If the salt levels in the blood fall, it can lead to nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps and in the worst case, coma.

– Our general advice is to drink more than usual when it is hot. But what is right depends on who you are. For example, people with certain types of kidney disease should not drink too much. You must check with your doctor.

Elin Andersson says that heat stroke is unusual in Sweden. The more common is so-called heat fatigue.

– You may feel tired, dizzy, weak, nauseous and have an elevated heart rate. A heat exhaustion can become severe and turn into a heat stroke. The heart rate becomes even higher then at the same time as the body’s heat regulation stops working. Body temperature may rise.

Other symptoms are that sweating may stop completely and that you lose consciousness.

– If you suspect heat stroke, you should always call 112, she says.

Read more:

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